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Doubts Remain About Afghan Parliament's Inauguration Date


Afghan members of parliament gather in a hotel in Kabul to break the deadlock on whether or not to open the new parliament.
The controversy around the planned inauguration of Afghanistan's parliament on January 26 has continued, as some lawmakers say they want to wait until a special tribunal investigating allegations of fraud in the September parliamentary elections delivers its report.

Parliament deputies Shukria Barakzai and Gul Pacha Majidi were quoted as saying Karzai agreed on January 22 not to wait until late February to open the parliamentary session, ending a political standoff that threatened to start a constitutional crisis.

The spokesman for the official Electoral Complaints Commission said it had no objections to parliament convening, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

"As far as the commission is concerned, there are no legal issues" to prevent the new parliament convening, Ahmad Zia Rafat said today.

Sediq Ahmad Usmani, a representative from Parwan Province, said lawmakers accepted Karzai's offer to inaugurate parliament next week.

Last week, Karzai ordered a one-month delay to give a special tribunal more time to investigate allegations of massive vote fraud in September's parliamentary election.

In response, newly elected lawmakers vowed to start the session on their own.

with agency reports